First Women Only Mosque In The US Opens in Downtown LA

The first women only mosque in the United States has opened its doors in a century old multi-faith worship service at an old synagogue in the Pico Union district. While a mosque only for women is a novelty in the United States, they do exist in other countries like China, but this L.A. experiment is now the focus of a lot of attention from muslims all over.

"We've gotten a lot of support" says co-founder Sana Muttalib, who adds it takes some explaining at the beginning: "It's an addition to our faith, it's not taking away from it." Some conservative elements in the Muslim faith have raised eyebrows, especially at the fact women are leading prayers and giving sermons. Edina Lekovic, of the Muslim Public Affairs Council explains there is nothing in the Koran that forbids it, when women are the congregation.

The women here say they are trying to add to the Muslim American experience, not take away from it. They are working to counter cultural ideas that sometimes marginalize women, by linking their efforts with established tradition and helping younger Muslim women reconnect with their faith. So, there is no requirement worshippers wear head scarves, this being more of a "come as you are" policy, which has attracted women from all over.

"It just feels so especial" the women kept on saying to us, "you can't describe it". The mosque does have educational programs which are co-ed, so the whole family can be included, but as far as the prayers...."my husband so wants to sneak in" says a smiling Lekovic, who calls the space "inspiring".

The Women's Mosque of America meets once a month for Friday prayers . For more information go to their facebook page, or go to womensmosque.com

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